Friday, 15 August 2008

GREEN COUNCILLOR CALLS FOR ACTION ON REPORT SHOWING BIAS AGAINST ETHNIC MINORITY LAWYERS

News from the Green Party | 14th August 2008

GREEN COUNCILLOR CALLS FOR ACTION ON REPORT SHOWING BIAS AGAINST
ETHNIC MINORITY LAWYERS

Green Councillor Maya de Souza, today raised concerns at the
conclusions of a report showing the disproportionate targeting of
black and asian lawyers by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.

Councillor de Souza has represented Highgate ward in Camden since 2006
and is a member of the government's 14-strong Black, Asian and
Minority Ethnic Women Councillors' Taskforce. The taskforce was set up
earlier this year to develop practical ways to encourage women from
minorities to become councillors and champions of their communities.
She is also a qualified solicitor.

The report, published by Lord Ouseley on 14th August, is the result of
an independent review commissioned by the SRA in response to data
published by the Law Society in 2006. This showed that black and
minority ethnic lawyers were disproportionately affected by regulation.

Councillor de Souza's response concludes that the report released
today highlights the continuing presence of discrimination in many
areas of society, and that much work is still needed before
organisations like the SRA can claim to be truly fair and even-handed.

She says: "I hope to see the Law Society, the SRA and organisations
representing BME solicitors work together to tackle these problems and
show other organisations what can be done."

Councillor de Souza's response:

"The Ouseley Review found 'evidence of some stereotyping' within the
SRA, which led to an assumption of guilt in respect of lawyers from
some communities even before an investigation had begun. It also
pointed to the focus of regulation on sole practitioners (a higher
proportion of black and asian lawyers are sole practitioners) as a
reason for this discrimination.

"It found evidence of a greater proportion of BME solicitors referred
to the Solicitors Disciplinary Board, a greater proportion of cases
where a decision was made to intervene in the practise and a
disproportionate number barred from student applications or admission
to the roll.

"While making clear its findings of institutional racism, the report
also makes a broad range of recommendations to help elminate this,
from applying equality and diversity strategies to working with the
Law Society to develop better systems of support and guidance.

"The upside of this review is that it's clear that the public sector
equality duties, which have led to impact assessments being carried
out, are leading to proper investigation of practises that would
previously remain hidden – something that members of the public
suspect but cannot establish.

"It also reveals how affected we all are by stereotypes of different
communities and how this affects the ability of people to be
scrupulously fair. This is something that we in the UK pride ourselves
on and I hope that this report will lead to consideration as to how we
can surmount this problem if we are to be a fair multi-cultural society.

"For the legal profession it also raises other issues – why do more
ethnic minorities become sole practitioners? What are the barriers to
them achieving success in larger firms and how can this be tackled? Do
sole practitioners require greater assistance and support?

"This issue of support and guidance is of increasing importance as
fees for legal aid practitioners are cut and lawyers in this sector,
who are disproportionately BME, will have to operate on lower incomes.

"There is a lot more work to be done to address these issues as well
as the disproportionate representation in certain aspects of work of
the SRA. I hope to see the Law Society, the SRA and organizations
representing BME solicitors work together to tackle these problems and
show other organisations what can be done."

1 Comments:

Blogger Laban said...

It's worse than that, Rupert.

You'll also find that Asian doctors are heavily over-represented in GMC disciplinary cases.

It could of course - almost certainly is - a result of racism by those evil whites. After all, racism is a well-known characteristic of theirs.

There's the alternative possibility that

a) there are high levels of corruption/abuse of position in many countries - see the Transparency Index for details

b) immigrants from many countries come to the UK

c) they (and their descendants) are no longer encouraged to integrate or assimilate to the majority culture, but rather to celebrate their own culture. So there is no cultural pressure acting against whatever levels of corruption may be the norm in their country of origin.

d) therefore, on the face of it, there's no reason why levels of corruption among an immigrant community should not be similar to those found in their country of origin. After all, what's going to change the culture ? UK laws ? Every country in the world has laws against corruption. What's so special about ours ?


e) I realise that this may be an uncomfortable, if not an unacceptable theory. But the alternative - that the soil of the United Kingdom contains some magical property which can change the culture of anyone setting foot on it, even in the absence of any other drivers of cultural change, I find even less acceptable.

16 August 2008 at 00:06  

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1. 2. 3. Rupert's Read: GREEN COUNCILLOR CALLS FOR ACTION ON REPORT SHOWING BIAS AGAINST ETHNIC MINORITY LAWYERS 4. 12. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 23. 24.

25. 26. GREEN COUNCILLOR CALLS FOR ACTION ON REPORT SHOWING BIAS AGAINST ETHNIC MINORITY LAWYERS 27. 28.

29.
News from the Green Party | 14th August 2008

GREEN COUNCILLOR CALLS FOR ACTION ON REPORT SHOWING BIAS AGAINST
ETHNIC MINORITY LAWYERS

Green Councillor Maya de Souza, today raised concerns at the
conclusions of a report showing the disproportionate targeting of
black and asian lawyers by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.

Councillor de Souza has represented Highgate ward in Camden since 2006
and is a member of the government's 14-strong Black, Asian and
Minority Ethnic Women Councillors' Taskforce. The taskforce was set up
earlier this year to develop practical ways to encourage women from
minorities to become councillors and champions of their communities.
She is also a qualified solicitor.

The report, published by Lord Ouseley on 14th August, is the result of
an independent review commissioned by the SRA in response to data
published by the Law Society in 2006. This showed that black and
minority ethnic lawyers were disproportionately affected by regulation.

Councillor de Souza's response concludes that the report released
today highlights the continuing presence of discrimination in many
areas of society, and that much work is still needed before
organisations like the SRA can claim to be truly fair and even-handed.

She says: "I hope to see the Law Society, the SRA and organisations
representing BME solicitors work together to tackle these problems and
show other organisations what can be done."

Councillor de Souza's response:

"The Ouseley Review found 'evidence of some stereotyping' within the
SRA, which led to an assumption of guilt in respect of lawyers from
some communities even before an investigation had begun. It also
pointed to the focus of regulation on sole practitioners (a higher
proportion of black and asian lawyers are sole practitioners) as a
reason for this discrimination.

"It found evidence of a greater proportion of BME solicitors referred
to the Solicitors Disciplinary Board, a greater proportion of cases
where a decision was made to intervene in the practise and a
disproportionate number barred from student applications or admission
to the roll.

"While making clear its findings of institutional racism, the report
also makes a broad range of recommendations to help elminate this,
from applying equality and diversity strategies to working with the
Law Society to develop better systems of support and guidance.

"The upside of this review is that it's clear that the public sector
equality duties, which have led to impact assessments being carried
out, are leading to proper investigation of practises that would
previously remain hidden – something that members of the public
suspect but cannot establish.

"It also reveals how affected we all are by stereotypes of different
communities and how this affects the ability of people to be
scrupulously fair. This is something that we in the UK pride ourselves
on and I hope that this report will lead to consideration as to how we
can surmount this problem if we are to be a fair multi-cultural society.

"For the legal profession it also raises other issues – why do more
ethnic minorities become sole practitioners? What are the barriers to
them achieving success in larger firms and how can this be tackled? Do
sole practitioners require greater assistance and support?

"This issue of support and guidance is of increasing importance as
fees for legal aid practitioners are cut and lawyers in this sector,
who are disproportionately BME, will have to operate on lower incomes.

"There is a lot more work to be done to address these issues as well
as the disproportionate representation in certain aspects of work of
the SRA. I hope to see the Law Society, the SRA and organizations
representing BME solicitors work together to tackle these problems and
show other organisations what can be done."

30. 31. 32.